For Immediate Release
May 25, 2004
President Bush reported to the Nation our strategy in Iraq and the specific steps we are taking to achieve our goal. Our coalition has a clear goal, understood by all: To see the Iraqi people in charge of Iraq for the first time in generations. The President announced five steps in his plan to achieve freedom and democracy in Iraq.
1. Handing Over Authority to a Sovereign Iraqi Government On June 30, full sovereignty will be transferred to a government of Iraqi citizens.
Ambassador John Negroponte will oversee a new U.S. Embassy in Iraq.
United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has outlined a framework for an interim government.
In preparation for sovereignty, many functions of government have already been transferred.
2. Establishing the Stability and Security in Iraq that Democracy Requires *Coalition forces and the Iraqi people have the same enemies -- terrorists, illegal militia, and Saddam loyalists -- who stand between the Iraqi people and their future as a free nation. Working as allies, we will defend Iraq and defeat these enemies.
After the transfer of sovereignty, U.S. and Coalition forces will remain in Iraq and will operate under American command as part of a multinational force authorized by the United Nations.
Iraq's military, police, and border forces have begun to take on broader responsibilities. Eventually, they must be the primary defenders of Iraqi security. In some cases, the early performance of Iraqi forces fell short. We have learned from these failures and taken steps to correct them.
At the direction of President Bush, and with the support of Iraqi authorities, the United States is accelerating our program to help train Iraqis in the defense of their country.
3. Continuing to Rebuild Iraq's Infrastructure The United States is dedicating more than $20 billion to reconstruction and development projects in Iraq. *At the urging of the Coalition, 37 countries, and the IMF and World Bank, have so far pledged $13.5 billion in aid for Iraqi reconstruction.
Under Saddam, prisons like Abu Ghraib were symbols of death and torture. That same prison became a symbol of disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values. America will fund the construction of a modern, maximum security prison. Then Abu Ghraib detainees will be relocated and, with the approval of the Iraqi government, the Abu Ghraib prison will be demolished.
Over the decades of Saddam's rule, Iraq's infrastructure was allowed to crumble while money was diverted to palaces, wars, and weapons programs. Even after June 30th there will continue to be problems related to Iraq's insufficient infrastructure.
4. International Support for a Free Iraq The United States and Great Britain have presented a new resolution in the U.N. Security Council to help move Iraq toward self-government.
The President will travel to the NATO Summit in Istanbul next month where he will thank our 15 NATO allies who together have more than 17,000 troops on the ground in Iraq.
5. Working for Free, National Elections by January 2005 A U.N. election assistance team is now in Iraq helping to form an Independent Election Commission that will oversee an orderly and accurate national election in January 2005.